Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, 25, made his first comments since he was banned from team activities after an audio recording surfaced in which his ex-fiancée, Crystal Espinal, accused him of hitting their three-year-old son while telling her, “You need to be terrified of me too, b—-.”
Hill said he was working on becoming a better father and believed he needs to grow in the future after a rocky offseason for the Pro Bowl player.
“I’m excited. I’m working every day to be a better father, a better person, a better citizen, a better teammate and a better son, too, to my parents,” Hill said at Chiefs training camp on Sunday. “I’m evolving every day. Something stood out to me as I was going through this long process. My mom told me, People don’t need to change. They need to grow.”
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The two-time All-Pro declined to talk about the specifics of the case; the NFL decided to not punish Hill for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Still, he said he regretted the language he used in the leaked recording.
“I wish I could get into all [the case details] but I can’t,” Hill said. “I’m just here to man up to what I did, on the audio, my bad language. I going to man up to that. I don’t want nobody talking to my little sister, my daughter that I have now, my mom like that. It’s very disrespectful. My mom got into me, she like thumped me on the ear like, come on, grow up out of that. Never again.”
Regard accusations he punched his son in the chest, Tyreek said that was taken out of context. “Punching my son in the chest would probably refer to me teaching my son how to box, ’cause we do have boxing gloves at our house,” he said.
After the recording was released, the Chiefs quickly suspended Hill from all team-related activities and used a second-round pick on wide receiver Mecole Hardman out of the University of Georgia. Hill remained suspended during summer team activities and mandatory minicamp, even though the local district attorney assigned to the case had concluded there was not enough evidence to charge him.
Hill said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and an investigative team traveled to Kansas City to meet with him, and during an eight-hour chat Hill told them his side of the story.
“Roger Goodell and his team did their thing,” Hill said. “They dug in, got all the facts, and I’m very appreciative of those guys as well. The meeting was long. It was probably the longest meeting of my life. It was crazy. What I was trying to get across was just the facts, man.”
The Kansas Department for Children and Families was still conducting an ongoing investigation and Hill declined to comment on that case.
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After prosecutors and the league office cleared him, many teammates and fans gave him warm embraces, with some fans chanting his name and cheering him on during practice.
“The love feels good, to come back out here and get a chance,” Hill said. “I’m on a new journey as far as me growing as a father and as a human.”
Hill, arguably the fastest player in the NFL, broke a franchise record with 1,479 receiving yards last season. He was seen catching passes from quarterback Patrick Mahomes on Sunday during training camp.
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“It was good having him back out there,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy told The Associated Press. “He is an intelligent kid. He picked up right where he left off. He’s doing a heck of a job.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.